Beazley Reports 25% Rise in Profit as Loss Claims Fall

Beazley Plc (BEZ)’s shares gained the most in five years after the Lloyd’s of London insurer reported a 25 percent rise in full-year profit and paid a special dividend.

Beazley increased as much as 8.3 percent, its biggest intraday rise since January 2009 and was up 14.7 pence to 268.1 pence at 8:56 a.m. in London trading. The Dublin-based group posted pretax profit of $313.3 million for 2013, compared with $251.2 million in the year-earlier period, in a statement today.

Beazley said its combined ratio, or claims and expenses as a percentage of premiums, declined to 84 percent from 91 percent as the company had fewer claims relating to natural disasters. It paid a second interim dividend of 5.9 pence a share, taking total payouts for the year to 8.8 pence plus a special dividend of 16.1 pence.

“It was a quiet year for catastrophe losses,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Horton said in the statement. “The business lines that are not exposed to catastrophes also performed excellently.”

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